Yesterday the Bar Council released its preliminary findings on the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012.
The Press Release tells us that 716 people responded to the survey, of which 90% were barristers from a wide range of legal sectors. Not surprisingly, the family courts dominated the survey:
- 88% of respondents who worked within the family courts reported an increase in self-representation.
- 81% of respondents who undertook family legal aid work reported impacts
- 72% of respondents who undertook family legal aid work reported a decrease in case work.
- 69% of respondents who worked as family legal aid practitioners reported a decline in fee income
(These figures have been rounded up by the Bar Council in their press release).
Chairman of the Bar, Nicholas Lavender QC (fragrant name), summed up his view of the findings in his statement, which included the sentiment that:
“Unsurprisingly, the preliminary results from the survey confirm the concerns we raised with the Government some time ago: a significant increase in litigants-in-person, more delays in court, and growing difficulty for individuals in accessing legal advice and representation.”
The survey launched online in April of this year and was undertaken by the Bar Council and the University of Surrey. The project was created with a view to measuring how LASPO has affected access to justice one year on from its implementation. The project comes to a close in September 2014.
There’s a new discussion over at the excellent Jordans Family Law, on the survey. Seeing as most of the respondents were barristers, it would be good for the sector to get feedback from people who use the system, too.
If you’d like more information on the survey, you can contact the Bar Council on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.